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May 18, 2024

Time for a JOG

I have a fond memory of my first meeting with Daryl Heald.  This was in the late 1990s when he was in leadership at the Maclellan Foundation (his wife’s family) and thinking about starting a new initiative with a few friends called Generous Giving.

I remember Daryl testing out the vision of Generous Giving with me.  “It’s like an iceberg,” he explained, pulling out his pen and drawing on a napkin at our table, “the tip - everything above the waterline - is the ‘how’ and ‘where’ of giving.  There are tons of resources that provide answers to people’s questions about the ‘how’ and ‘where’.  However everything under the waterline is about the ‘why’ of giving.   Why should we be radically generous?  People need a tangible place where they can gather to talk transparently and reflect on why generosity is so important.  I believe if we create space that brings them together, we will see their giving increase exponentially over time.”

A few years later Generous Giving was launched!  I really appreciate that Daryl is a genuine friend to development folks like us.  This is especially meaningful due to his leadership in their family’s foundation.  He cares about our work and mentors us regularly, helping us to improve in the work of inviting people to resource great causes.  Fundraisers often find that working with large foundations can feel cold and transactional.

One the first things Daryl did after launching GG was to convene a meeting of major gift fundraisers.  He wanted them to hear the vision of GG, and how they could participate in spreading the message.  Hefocused on three groups of people who regularly interact with high net worth individuals;  Pastors, financial/legal professionals, and ministry leaders/fundraisers. Daryl knew this group of leaders would be ideal to help get the word out to this unique “people group”.

I was captivated by the ministry of Generous Giving from the very start.  Since it was fully funded by the Maclellan Foundation, there would never be any kind of ‘ask’ conducted at these gatherings.  It was all about touching the hearts of these men and women who were entrusted with extraordinary financial capacity.  With Daryl’s encouragement, I began inviting friends who were wealthy supporters to consider a GG gathering.  The experience was transformational.

A few years later, the Generous Giving team designed a 24 hour small group retreat experience called a Journey of Generosity (JOG).  You can read more about it here and watch an excellent 2 minute 20 second explainer video.  Over the last 20 years, close to 150,000 people from more than 90 countries have experienced a JOG retreat (in more than 45 languages)!  Post retreat surveys (conducted anonymously by a 3rd party research firm) have revealed hundreds of millions of dollars have been given to charities as a direct result of the retreats.

Simply stunning.  It’s hard to overstate how this vision has transformed the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

I encourage major gift fundraisers to learn about Journey of Generosity retreats, consider partnering with Generous Giving, and learn how to plan a retreat for their major givers.  This can be done as a blessing and gift to all who attend.  It’s not a fundraising strategy.  There is no ‘ask’ conducted and no briefing on the mission.  The message to your givers is this:

We believe God wants us to experience the fulfillment of a generous life, and it starts with a sacred conversation.

To give you more insight on JOG retreats,  I’ve provided a 12 ½ minute video from my online course, freely available here.  You’ll discover exactly how you can partner with Generous Giving to conduct JOG retreats.

Next week I look forward to offering three core strategies to help JOGs become an integral part of your fundraising initiatives.  Stay tuned!

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If you haven't taken advantage of some of the resources I've created to help major gift fundraisers, take a look now!  Initial calls with me are free and "no strings attached".  Sometimes folks feel like they need to wait and not 'bother' me until they have a pressing issue.  No need for that...just make the call. 🕺

Here's where you can access a lot of content for free:

* Follow me on LinkedIn - You'll get short pro-tips and reflections on major gift fundraising every day between 5-7am pacific.

* Breakthru Newsletter - As you've seen here, these are longer weekly posts (audio and written) sent directly to your email.

* Breakthru Blog - the newsletter from the previous week gets posted here each week for everyone (so email subscribers get it a week early).

* Breakthru Podcast - Interviews with high net worth givers about how we as fundraisers can get better at inviting them to the party.  And audio readings of Breakthru Blog posts.

Before getting to the PAID stuff:

My opinion is that no small ministry with a tight budget should be spending more than $3-5k (total) for major gift coaching/consulting.  Most of you will be good-to-go spending far less than that.  This was a major issue for me when I was a frontline fundraiser - major gift consultants were an expensive 'black-box-of-confusion' for me.  That stops now.

Here's the PAID stuff:

* Online Catalyst Course - This is a full brain dump of my 28+ years of experience - good, bad, ugly.  It's built around the fundamentals, the sacredness, and the fun, of major gift fundraising.  It's infused with Henri Nouwen reflections.  Many people can take this course and they will be 'cooking-with-gas' and not need any additional coaching from me on the core systems.  I'm grateful that this course has gotten *great* reviews.

* Live coaching with me - I refer to this as "brain rental".  The ROI on live coaching, as you might imagine, is extraordinary.

Finally, I have a new team member named Ivana Salloum.  She's super aweseme and she can help with scheduling and access to resources, etc.

I look forward to hearing about your good work!


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